Qatar Sees Rise in Visitors on Free Transit Visas

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Peninsula -- Two new initiatives on stopover passengers introduced recently have attracted increasing number of visitors to the country within a short time, a senior official at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), said.

More than 40,000 travelers have visited the country since the relaxed transit visa rules were introduced to Qatar Airways passengers in November 1st last year. Moreover, the +Qatar stopover package has attracted an increasing number of travelers, Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, pointed out. He was speaking at the fourth Annual Tourism Industry Ramadan Ghabga held recently.


Free transit visas for passengers with a minimum layover of five hours in Doha allows transiting passengers to enter Qatar for up to 96 hours in between flights.


+Qatar, launched by QTA and Qatar Airways last month, is offered to transiting passengers, including a free night's stay at a 4 or 5-star hotel in Doha, alongside a free, 96-hour transit visa.


“In the first quarter of the year, we received ten percent growth in the number of visitors because of the collaborations we have established. A new initiative was introduced as reflection of policy changes we have done at a governmental level. We have been working very closely with Qatar Airways and the Ministry of Interior to launch the new initiative.


"As a result of this, more than 40,000 people have used the transit visa and visited Qatar,” Al Ibrahim said, addressing the gathering with QTA’s partners in the public and private sector, staff and media representatives at the Four Seasons Hotel.


“We also launched +Qatar during this season. We are running it between now and until the end of this summer. We are very happy to see that many people are booking on regular basis and numbers are increasing by the day. We haven’t seen any cancellations, we haven’t seen any changes, and the numbers are growing,” he added.


In addition, more than 45,000 passengers arrived on Qatar’s shores in 2016/2017 season.


“We have also seen the growth of the cruise industry. It was first big year for Qatar in cruise tourism, we received between 45,000 and 46,000 people on board,” Al Ibrahim noted.


He also highlighted that the next phase of the National Tourism Sector Strategy is set to be launched in September to coincide with the World Tourism Day.


“From the previous strategy, we have so much in diversifying not just the products and the offerings we are emphasizing so much on our main points of strength. We are focusing on areas like business development, family entertainment, authentic experiences, sports and much more,” Al Ibrahim clarified.